Fri | Feb 15, 2019

UPDATE: Captain of doomed boat charged by the police

Published:Saturday | December 29, 2018 | 1:19 PM
Some of the passengers who were on board the ill-fated vessel that capsized off the coast of Port Royal, Kingston, on Thursday, speaking outside the Kingston Public Hospital.

The captain of the boat that capsized off the coast of Port Royal in Kingston on Thursday killing two women has been charged by the police.

The police Corporate Communications Unit says Herbert Dowie, 57, has been charged for operating an unlicensed vessel.

Dowie is scheduled to appear before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on January 21.

The police have also confirmed the identities of the two women who are “suspected to have drowned” in the mishap.

They are Janelle Decasseres, 35, of Summit Heights, in St Andrew, and Edith Petscha, 45, of Evergreen Drive in Hatfield, Manchester.

According to the police, the two women were among a group of twelve persons who were being transported to Lime Cay shortly before 9a.m. when the vessel in which they were travelling “encountered difficulties.”

“The captain was unable to rectify the issue and the vessel capsized,” the police said in a statement.

The police say all 12 passengers were rescued by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard and the Marine Police and transported to hospital where the two women were pronounced dead.

The decision to file charges against Dowie comes in the wake of a preliminary report which found that the vessel, the F/V ‘Geraldine’, was “not licensed by the Maritime Authority to carry passengers.”

The report by the Maritime Authority revealed that the F/V ‘Geraldine’ was permitted to carry eight persons, including the captain, up to the time its certification expired in 2014.

“The Harbour Rules 1971…prohibit the operation of vessels carrying passengers for gain without the vessel being issued with a certificate evidencing seaworthiness granted by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica,” the report said.

As a result, the Maritime Authority said preliminary investigations suggest that overcrowding and the use of a vessel not constructed to carry passengers were among the factors that contributed to the mishap.

It also blamed adverse sea conditions and the absence of communication devices to alert nearby vessels.

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